Weill: Violin Concerto; Berlin im Licht; Kleine Dreigroschenmusik

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Weill
LABELS: Orfeo
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Berlin im Licht; Kleine Dreigroschenmusik
PERFORMER: Henri Raudales (violin); Munich Radio Orchestra/Gerd Müller-Lorenz
CATALOGUE NO: C 539 001 A
With an orchestral accompaniment confined to the relatively austere sounds of wind and brass instruments, Kurt Weill’s Violin Concerto seems to manifest many of the characteristic musical gestures that one normally associates with Twenties ‘New Objectivity’. At the same time, there is a restless undercurrent of nervous tension in the sinister military allusions that frame the opening movement or the volcanic energy of the finale which seem far removed from the detached manner of his contemporary Paul Hindemith.

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The Guatemalan violinist Henri Raudales responds extremely sensitively to the more lyrical sections of the score, delivering a very atmospheric account of the central movement, but failing to my mind to effect sufficient forward momentum and urgency in the finale. Here the dynamic playing of Christian Tetzlaff and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie on Virgin proves to be more exciting, and the orchestral accompaniment throughout has greater incisiveness and variety of nuance.

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The Munich Radio Orchestra offers a tautly rhythmic account of the Kleine Dreigroschenmusik with some particularly engaging syncopations in the Tango-Ballade. Yet for all its surface precision, the interpretation sounds po-faced, understating the irresistible enjoyment one should experience from Weill’s brilliant arrangement. Only in the all-too-brief Berlin im Licht does one glimpse a more unbuttoned approach, but one minute’s worth of involving music-making is hardly sufficient to warrant a confident recommendation for this release. Erik Levi